by Dr Johan van der Waals | Head Technical, National at realIPM.

realIPM has been implementing pace setting integrated pest management (IPM) programs through the combination of various biological products, soil health stimulants and selected chemistry in agriculture.

IPM is defined as the understanding of the various life stages of the pest, the nature and resistance of the host, and the environmental conditions driving these interactions. A critical component of IPM that is often overlooked is the role that active roots play in the expression of pest resistance mechanisms of the host plant.

Key observations in the implementation of successful IPM programs are the overriding roles of:

1.) excessive and incorrect fertiliser applications, and
2.) inadequate aeration management in amplifying pest pressures.

In this regard the main culprit is excessive nitrogen (N) fertiliser and the effect that various forms of N has on rhizosphere pH and nutrient element availability. A major contributing factor is the lack of adequate aeration in the root zone that leads to poor root growth and subsequent poor uptake of elements such as calcium (Ca), potassium (K) and iron (Fe). These elements, in conjunction with a host of metabolically critical compounds produced by active root tips, determine largely the ability of a plant to grow optimally and fend off pathogens and insect pests.

A plant with a compromised pest resistance ability leads to a decrease in efficacy of chemical, physical and biological remedies used for pest control. It is therefore critical that the plant be coaxed into playing an active role in the IPM strategy through ensuring optimal root development with an accompanying biologically healthy and functioning soil.

How do we achieve optimal root development and a healthy soil?

Physical, chemical and biological constraints to root development and proliferation have to be addressed on a site specific basis. Implementation of realIPM’s soil program, based on the use of humates, organic amendments and Real Trichoderma, yields results rapidly and sustainably while decreasing fertiliser and pesticide inputs. The soil program also yields increased organic carbon levels in the soil, with long-term plant and soil health benefits.

Please contact us below or contact one of our expert technical advisors, for more about our approach and products, as well as a free on-farm consultation.